Governor Kathy Hochul today urged New Yorkers to prepare for strong and severe thunderstorms expected to impact most of the state on Thursday afternoon and continue through the evening.
"We're keeping a close eye on the forecast today as severe storms could impact much of the State into this evening, with reports of a brief tornado that passed through Wyoming County," Governor Hochul said. "I am urging New Yorkers to pay attention to their local forecasts and sign up for emergency alerts so they can take measures to stay safe ahead of severe weather."
The National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center has placed much of the State under a severe thunderstorm watch until 8PM. These storms are capable of bringing damaging winds, strong enough to down trees and power lines - resulting in outages, hail up to and possibly exceeding one inch in diameter, and heavy rain that may lead to isolated flash flooding.
State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray said, "New Yorkers should be prepared for severe weather impacting most of the state through this evening. DHSES is currently monitoring weather conditions throughout the state and communicating with our partners in local government to ensure they are prepared for any storm-related impacts. Governor Hochul and I are asking everyone to stay informed today, sign up for alerts and follow your local forecasts as conditions may change throughout the day."
For a complete listing of weather alerts and forecasts, visit the National Weather Service website at https://alerts.weather.gov. New Yorkers are also encouraged to sign up for emergency alerts by subscribing to NY Alert at https://alert.ny.gov, a free service providing critical emergency information via text/call/email.
Severe Weather Safety Tips
Know the county in which you live and the names of nearby cities. Severe weather warnings are issued on a county basis.
Learn the safest route from your home or business to high, safe ground should you have to leave in a hurry.
Develop and practice a 'family escape' plan and identify a meeting place if family members become separated.
Make an itemized list of all valuables including furnishings, clothing and other personal property. Keep the list in a safe place.
Stockpile emergency supplies of canned food, medicine and first aid supplies and drinking water. Store drinking water in clean, closed containers.
Plan what to do with your pets.
Have a portable radio, flashlights, extra batteries, and emergency cooking equipment available.
Keep your vehicle fueled or charged. If electric power is cut off, gasoline stations may not be able to pump fuel for several days. Have a small disaster supply kit in the trunk of your car.
Have disaster supplies on hand, including:
· Flashlight and extra batteries
· Battery-operated radio and extra batteries
· First aid kit and manual
· Emergency food and water
· Non-electric can opener
· Essential medicines
· Checkbook, cash, credit cards, ATM cards
If outdoors and a Tornado Warning is issued, seek shelter immediately. If there is no shelter nearby, lie flat in a ditch or low spot with your hands shielding your head.
If at home or in a small building, go to the basement or an interior room on the lowest floor of the building. Stay away from windows. Closets, bathrooms, and other interior rooms offer the best protection. Get under something sturdy or cover yourself with a mattress.
If in a school, hospital, or shopping center, go to a pre-designated shelter area. Stay away from large open areas and windows. Do not go outside to your car.
If in a high-rise building, go to an interior small room or hallway on the lowest floor possible. Do not use elevators - use stairs instead.
Never attempt to drive on a flooded road. Turn around and go another way.
If water begins to rise rapidly around you in your car, abandon the vehicle immediately.
Do not underestimate the power of fast-moving water. Two feet of fast-moving flood water will float your car, and water moving at two miles per hour can sweep cars off a road or bridge.
Follow the 30-30 rule: If the time between when you see a flash of lightning and hear thunder is 30 seconds or less, the lightning is close enough to hit you. Seek shelter immediately. After the last flash of lightning, wait 30 minutes before leaving your shelter.
Lightning hits the tallest object. If you are above a tree line, quickly get below it and crouch down if you are in an exposed area.
If you can't get to a shelter, stay away from trees. If there is no shelter, crouch in the open, keeping twice as far away from a tree as it is tall.
For more safety tips, visit the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Safety Tips web page at www.dhses.ny.gov/safety.